Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pollution Tests Could Pull More Cars off the Road

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pollution Tests Could Pull More Cars off the Road

Article excerpt

More cars will have to be tested and three times as many cars will fail if new testing standards for auto exhaust are adopted by the Missouri and Illinois legislatures.

Mike Coulson, manager of environmental planning for the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, says about 20 percent of the cars tested would probably fail if a new method being considered in both states were to replace the current method of testing emissions.

About 7 percent of cars tested fail the current test, which is in use in the city of St. Louis and Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri and in a zone stretching from Alton to Cahokia in Illinois.

In Illinois, the agency proposes to include all of Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties. Franklin County in Missouri would also be added in the new testing program.

Coulson said one of the aims of the program would be to take older, more pollution-prone cars off the road.

"Presumably, a cleaner car would be put back on the road," Coulson said.

The test places cars on a device called a dynamometer that allows the car's engine to run and the wheels to turn while a device monitors emissions from the tailpipe. It is part of a set of recommendations being sent to both the Missouri and Illinois legislatures this year.

East-West Gateway is recommending tougher standards for auto emissions to bring the St. Louis metropolitan area into compliance with environmental standards set by federal law.

Air quality failed to meet federal standards on six days this year. The area is considered moderately out of compliance by federal Environmental Protection Agency officials.

Coulson said the changes are needed in order to meet two federal standards.

First, the area must see a 15 percent reduction in the amount of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. Second, the area must comply with federal standards for ozone levels.

Federal law requires both standards to be met by Nov. 15, 1996. Automobile exhaust creates compounds that lead to higher levels of both hydrocarbon and ozone.

Failure to meet the standards could result in sanctions, including loss of about $500 million a year in federal highway funding and a virtual ban on new industry in the St. …

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